Patients protest at surgery merger

PATIENTS took to the streets to protest against plans to merge four doctors' surgeries into a central health clinic. Tendring Primary Care Trust wants to build a modern health centre to replace four outdated GP surgeries in Great Clacton and Holland-on-Sea, but the plans have been dogged with setbacks and public opposition.

PATIENTS took to the streets to protest against plans to merge four doctors' surgeries into a central health clinic.

Tendring Primary Care Trust wants to build a modern health centre to replace four outdated GP surgeries in Great Clacton and Holland-on-Sea, but the plans have been dogged with setbacks and public opposition.

The PCT came up with a potential site for the new health centre in Kennedy Way, Clacton, an industrial site mid-way between the two villages, but patients complained about the location.

Yesterdayabout 100 patients from both villages marched to Kennedy Way from their respective surgeries to protest at the situation, which the PCT hope to resolve in September, by arranging transport to Kennedy Way and satellite surgeries in the two villages.


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Hugh Morrison, chairman of Residents Action Group (RAG), from Holland-on-Sea, said: "We've joined forces today and delivered a letter to the PCT explaining we want to keep our surgeries local rather than going to one big health centre on an industrial estate."

Mr Morrison said plans for a transport system to and from the villages to the new surgery were a worry because funding could never be guaranteed.

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He claimed 90% of the villages' populations backed his campaign.

Paul Unsworth, Tendring PCT chief executive, said: "Central to any health centre development has always been the commitment of Tendring Primary Care Trust to ensure there are adequate transport arrangements for people to get there.

"To that end we have a transport working group with local patient and Patient and Public Involvement Forum representation who have come up with firm proposals to provide transport of able bodied and disabled people to and from any such health centre."

He added: "Our recent research suggests that by building such a health centre we can potentially save 10,000 patient journeys per year (a 36-mile round trip) to Colchester."

Mr Unsworth said the protest was "alarming people unnecessarily" and did not serve any purpose.

The proposed new health centre would expand the range of services provided in primary care, including mental health services, district nursing/ health visiting, podiatry, and minor operations.

The four GP practices involved are The Surgery in Epping Close and Dr Gblaand Partners in North Road, both Great Clacton, and Grove Lodge Surgery in Queens Way, and Dr Stewart's practice in Frinton Road, Holland-on-Sea.

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